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Dow Jones Futures – Stock futures fell as concerns over whether Greece will be able to receive bailout funds prompted a pullback following the recent string a gains.
About 45 minutes before the start of regular trading, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures shed 103 points, or 0.8%, to 12739. The Dow rose 7 points, or 0.1%, on Thursday for a third-straight gain, and the highest close since May 19, 2008.
Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index futures lost 13 points, or 1%, to 1335 and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 21 points, or 0.8%, to 2540. Changes in stock futures do not always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.
The S&P 500 closed Thursday at the highest levels since July 7, 2011, and the Nasdaq 100 ended at an 11-year high.
European markets were broadly lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 1.1%. Euro-zone finance ministers didn’t approve a second bailout that Greece needs to stay afloat, saying Greece’s parliament must first approve the new austerity measures before they will sign off on the loan deal.
Meanwhile, some major unions in Greece protested the austerity measures that the country’s political leaders had agreed on by launching a 48-hour strike.
Asian bourses were also mostly lower on concerns over Greece, with the Nikkei Stock Average losing 0.6%. China’s Shanghai Composite bucked the trend by rising 0.1% after data showing the country’s trade surplus widened more than expected in January.
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Wheat futures gained for the first time in three sessions on speculation that cold weather in France, Germany and Ukraine will damage dormant crops.
Temperatures reached minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) in France’s Alsace and Lorraine regions yesterday, according to forecaster Meteo France. In northern Germany, where some fields lack a protective layer of snow, soil temperatures have dropped below minus 8 degrees Celsius, Deutscher Wetterdienst said. Cold weather in the Black Sea region also has hurt crops.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the cold in Europe and in Russia and Ukraine,” Larry Glenn, an analyst at Frontier Ag in Quinter, Kansas, said in a telephone interview. “Traders still remember two years ago when everything was OK, then they had a terrible harvest. They remember how much any loss to production can mean to prices if it comes out of Europe and the Black Sea area.”
Wheat futures for March delivery gained 1.2 percent to close at $6.685 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price, down 2 percent in the previous two sessions, has dropped 22 percent in the past 12 months.
Ukraine, the biggest grain grower in the Black Sea region after Russia, will need to replant at least half of its winter crops after freezing weather this week, Tetiana Adamenko, the head of agro-meteorology at the country’s national weather center, said on Feb. 3.
Damage known as winter kill caused by freezing weather will probably be average as snow cover protected some plants in parts of Bulgaria, where temperatures fell below minus 30 degrees Celsius, FCStone said in a report today.
The outlook for European soft wheat remains positive, and “there is little reason to believe that from a European perspective it will be greater than seasonal averages,” said Jaime Nolan-Miralles, an FCStone risk analyst.
- Tony C. Dreibus in London at Bloomberg.